Remember: The introduction of Mariette Kusman


Usually, it’s the sound of fireworks that trigger the memory. Or the smell of the street slick with rain as she huddles in the shadows of the alley, gripping her knees in order to calm herself down.

But this time, it was Louis Armstrong. In this case, a stranger in Central Park, playing ‘What a Wonderful World’ on his saxophone. It was as if Mariette Kusman was nothing more than a robot, and someone locked her into place on the sidewalks.

Pedestrians grumbled. Walked past. Not knowing what she was seeing.

Hearing.

FEELING.

All. Over. Again.

Doe colored eyes soon welled with tears as she fought for air.

No...not here...not with all these people---

‘One..two...three...four...five…’

*I see friendssss...shaking hannnddds...singing...HOWDOYOUDOOOO….*

*Daddy, stop!--* a teenage Mariette laughed, watching her father, Jason Kusman, slip his hand around the waist of her mother, Annette Kusman, and begin to sway with the music playing on their daughter’s phone, and singing a poor vocal impression of Louis Armstrong.

‘Five...four...three...two...one…’

*Jason! What in the world?!* Annette asked, eyes lit with surprise and delight at this show of affection.

*Theyyyy’re meeearly sayin’...I...loooove….you…* he leaned in close...lightly brushing his lips against those belonging to the love of his life for the last 25 years…

*You guys are gross. I’m gonna go to the car now,*

Mari walked away...why did she walk away….?

‘One...two...three….four...five…’

Mari didn’t know how she wound up in the private bathroom, but the cold tile wall against the back of her neck was a relief as she tried to calm herself down...hugging her knees close to her chest, unable to stop the vivid flashback…
“Fuh--five--”

No one expected it. The force of the explosion sent Mariette crashing to the ground. The sounds of chaos rang through the air...Rubble and smoke blanketed the cracked pavement.

“Four…”

Mariette coughed, trying to force air into her lungs. Damn, she felt like she was suffocating. Screams and cries from those injured was all she heard instead of her father’s singing---

“Three…..”

*D-DAD! MOM!” She called out, her voice raspy as she forced herself to stand, stumbling as she headed to where her parents were dancing...where her father was singing...where her mother was laughing as they---

*No...N-No….*

Falling to the ground, Mari wept beside the still bodies of Jason and Annette Kusman, still...somehow...in each other’s arms.

“T--two--”

Police still had no answers as to who was responsible for the bombing. Told her to wait it out. They would contact her.

That was seven years ago.

SEVEN. YEARS.

How could the police not have anything? No lead? No suspect? It was obvious they weren’t going to help her. They had to have something...there must have been something...she just needed to remember.

“Wuh--one…”

She *had* to remember.
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2 | May 16th 2019 00:38